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Jacqueline (on left), Elisea (in middle), Claire Wu (on right)
Jacqueline (on left), Elisea (in middle), Claire Wu (on right)

The Oxford/HBI Summer Student Exchange scheme grew out of a visit by a delegation from the Hotchkiss Brain Institute (HBI), Calgary, Ontario, Canada in March 2012 led by Prof Keith Sharkey. The aim of the scheme is to add richness and diversity to both institutions and to offer competitive advantages to students and fellows wishing to pursue research at the partner institution. This is the first year it has run. Three students are involved and it was organised by Nicholas Irving (Oxford) and Kelly Cook (HBI).  The scheme is funded by the Rebecca Hotchkiss International Scholar Exchange scheme and Alberta Innovates. 

Jacqueline (HBI) is working with Anna Hoerder-Suabedissen in Zoltan Molnar’s group from DPAG investigating the specificity of Connective Tissue Growth Factor (CTGF) as a subplate marker. Elisea (HBI) is working with Nele Demeyere in Glyn Humphreys’ group from Experimental Psychology on the rehabilitation of stroke patients. Claire Wu, a second year student from the Oxford BA Psychology and Philosophy course, went to work in the laboratory of Vina Golghari at HBI analysing fMRI data on facial emotion processing. 

Elisea said working with Oxford researchers was an ‘inspiring experience and a wonderful opportunity to perform research on an international stage’. Jacqueline added it provided a ‘unique opportunity which was very different to what they would have experienced at home’ while Clair’s opinion was ‘I would definitely recommend the exchange scheme to students in future years who are interested in any branch of neuroscience’.

This student exchange scheme is part of a larger partnership with HBI which includes joint symposia, the first of which is will be held in Calgary in September 2013 on the subject of multiple sclerosis. The scheme is open to second year Oxford students from the undergraduate courses in Biomedical Sciences (Neuroscience), Experimental Psychology, Psychology and Philosophy as well as Undergraduate pre-clinical medical students studying neuroscience options.